It’s New Years Day which means it’s time look back on the projects I’ve finished and the goals I set for myself over the last year and start planning out the ones I want to work on this year.

2010 Goals:

1)  Continue to work on my physical fitness and fighting.
2)  Only have one embroidery project at a time.  Until it’s finished this means my jacket.
3)  Do more sewing.
4)  Learn to play 2 pieces of music appropriate to Elizabethan England by Pennsic.
5)  Spend more time with my students.
6)  Continue to post Silver and Swetnam installments weekly.

I had a lot of false starts with my first goal of working on my physical fitness and fencing.  I would stay focused for a few weeks and then drop off.  I was really disappointed with myself in this.  These were really important goals for me and I let myself set them on the back burner over and over again.

I did OK with goals two and three.  I couldn’t maintain working on a sewing project and an embroidery project at the same time but I did enjoy more sewing projects this year and kept myself focused on the one embroidery project (my jacket) even if I didn’t get as far on it as I would have liked to.

I wrote about goal four recently already.

I did enjoy spending more time with my students both on and off the field this year and I’m looking forward to even more next year.

I did not continue with my Silver and Swetnam series mostly because I’ve decided to change those projects slightly.  Instead of working on them in a series I’ve decided I want to publish them all at once.

2010 Planned Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress (Started August 2009)
Flander’s Gown In progress
Silver Training Blog Series In progress
Swetnam Training Blog Series In progress
Steampunk Gown Finished! January 2010
Wrapped and Stuffed Buttons @ Etsy Opened! January 2010
Grey Wool Bias Cut Hosen Finished! February 2010
Linen Kirtle Finished! April 2010
White Linen Bias Cut Stockings Finished! April 2010
16th-17th Century Stocking Tutorial Finished! April 2010
Blue Linen Bias Cut Hosen Finished! May 2010
14th Century Hosen Tutorial Finished! May 2010
Saviolo Dueling Blog Series Finished! June 2010
Early Modern English Dueling Class Finished! June 2010

Green Linen GFG Finished! September 2010
Burgundy Linen Effigy Bodies Finished! October 2010
Recreating Elizabethan Bodies Tutorial Finished! October 2010
Monochrome Embroidery Tutorial Finished! December 2010
French-Cut gown
A new linen suit
Natural Form Gown

2011 Goals

1)  Continue to improve fitness and fencing
2)  Have one sewing project a month
3)  Publish a new ebook every 1-2 months
4)  Be able to play 1 Elizabethan popular song by December

In December I rededicated myself for improving my fitness and I’m pleased to say that I was able to stay pretty straight and mostly narrow even through the Holidays.  I have also begun outlining my plan for working on my fencing one already and I plan on discussing them in more detail when their more firm.  My first fitness and fencing goals revolve around Gulf Wars and I will be discussing them in future posts.  My other goals are all pretty self explanatory. In order to keep myself on track and focused I’ve decided to keep my total number of goals this year lower than last and I will be posting monthly updates.

2011 Planned Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress (Started August 2009)
Flander’s Gown In progress
Silver Training Manual In progress
Swetnam Training Manual In progress
14th Century Cloth Hosen ebook
New Rapier Armor
Shirt, Brais, Hosen
Charles de Blois Pourpoint
Edwardian Lingerie Gown
Arming Garments Class

The first non-fencing related projects I will be working on are the 14th Century Cloth Hosen ebook and finishing my Flanders Gown.

Many of you will remember my goal of being able to play two 16th Century songs on my guitar by Pennsic 2010.  I don’t post updates on my guitar progress very often but now that I’m progressing farther along I wanted to fill you in on my progress.

I think all fencers should pursue an art, especially an instrument.  Not only does music help you understand rhythm and timing but art helps us to expand our minds to other ways of seeing and understanding our world.  It makes us more well rounded and when you are well rounded you are better able to come up with multiple solutions to problems, such as how you are going to work around your opponent’s killer disengage.  ;)  Plus learning an instrument comes highly recommended but such notable warriors as Miyamoto Musashi.  You can’t beat an endorsement like that.

To say that I underestimated how it would take me to get to the point where I could start learning real songs is an understatement.  And when I say real songs I mean something more complicated that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, although I will admit that I was kinda proud of myself when I played that one all the way through.  The classics never get old.  ;)

It took longer than I thought to find my groove.  I tried a couple of different teachers, all of whom were excellent, before finding a school I wanted to settle down in.  I also have a bit of a background in music from a childhood spent in choir, band (flute for 1 year, clarinet for 3), and lessons in a couple other instruments so I didn’t just want to learn classical guitar from tab; I wanted to learn it from sheet music.  So we tried a couple of different books before settling on one book for the main part of my lessons.  My teacher also pulls exercises from other books to supplement it if I want more work in a particular area.

All of that took a lot more time that I had expected but I am finally getting to the point where I am starting to work through real pieces.  Last night in class I acquired my first real piece to work through: Bach’s Minuet in G.  I’m really  excited to finally have a real piece to work on in addition to my exercises.  It’s not a 16th Century composition but it’s an excellent start in a new art I’m really enjoying pursuing.

This week I start to find myself between projects.  My last article was published and I’ve started writing the next next one.  I’ve finished a couple of sewing projects and I’m getting ready to start a new commission.  This is the time that I generally make updates to my site.  So today when I was making some of those updates I found myself looking over some of my recent accomplishments and thinking that it’s nearly November and the end of the year is on it’s way.

More »

Last night while doing some work on my embroidered jacket I had the mutinous thought that I could just stop with the sleeves. They really would look lovely with my Flanders Gown.  I would be done so much sooner!  Hmmmmm….

The truth is that sometimes you get part way through a project and you make the decision to change it.  It happens and it’s no big deal.  But sometimes those thoughts about changing the project are just our mind’s ways of tricking us into copping out.  In this particular case I think it’s the latter.  I’ve been working on the jacket off and on for a long time now.  I’m not as far along as I would like to be (there’s that “off and on” thing rearing its ugly head) and sometimes I think about other embroidery projects I’d like to be doing.

It’s true that I could finish the sleeves and enjoy wearing them while I finished the rest of the jacket but my fear is that if I did that I would have a much more difficult time time completing the project than if I went on the finish the rest of the embroidery.

And I really do want to finish this project.  Not just the sleeves but the whole thing.  In order to do that I need to dedicate regular time to it and banish those mutinous thoughts.  I’m back to regular embroidery sessions and I just need to keep at it.  Slow and steady may not get things done quickly but it will get them done in the end.  And I really think once I have the sleeves finished it will start to seem like it’s all down hill from there.

So I must banish my mutinous thoughts and complete project!  Even if the sleeves would look totally awesome with my Flanders Gown.  Maybe when the jacket is done I start some scarletwork sleeves for it.

Hmmmmm…scarletwork….

25. June 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Goals, Music · Tags: , ,

Yep, you read that correctly. :)  After months of saying I was going to start I have finally signed up to begin weekly classical guitar lessons every Friday.   My first one is tonight!

One of the big reasons why I decided to take on learning to play classical guitar this year is because I wanted to be able to play popular Elizabethan music at Gardiner’s and SCA events.  Music was such an important part of Elizabethan life and I really want to explore that in more depth.  Singing is pretty much right out so that left me with learning an instrument.  When I originally decided to start this project this year I took a look at all the instrument possibilities.  The lute really interested me the most but I wanted to choose and instrument that I could take structured lessons on, not something I’d need to teach myself how to play.  Teaching myself would be cool but I don’t really have enough time for that with all the other things I have going on.  A big pull for classical guitar was that a wealth of popular lute music had already been transcribed for it and I could take lessons right down the road at one of our local guitar shops, Guru Guitars.  I would still like to learn to play the lute, but I think that’s further down the road.

I’m not quite sure what the issue is but lately I’ve found that I’ve been feeling very distracted with regards to my various projects and I haven’t been feeling like I’m really getting a lot done.  Oddly I’ve been feeling like I used to be able to get so much more done than I have these past few months.  Logically though I know I must be getting something done because my FR articles are finished and free time seems to be at an even higher premium than usual.  Years ago I used to keep yearly project lists of the things I was working on, things I had finished, and projects I wanted to start over the course of that year.  I sort of stopped tracking them though in early 2009.  Why?  I have no idea.

So in an effort to really compare what I’ve been doing this year with what I had accomplished in years past I decided that I need to revive my old project lists.  So far I’ve found one from 2008 and one from 2009.  I’m fairly certain I kept ones for 2007 and 2006 as well but I’m still looking for them.

Here’s my list from 2008:

2008 Projects

Black silk suit Finished! Jan 2008
Red Wool Hood Finished! Feb 2008
Silver’s Gryps and Clozes Finished! Mar 2008
Linen GFG/Kirtle Finished! Mar 2008
Linen Surcoat Finished! Apr 2008
Second Linen Surcoat Finished! Apr 2008
Gamboised Cuisses, 2 pair Finished! May 2008
Arming Vest Finished! May 2008
Padded leather fencing doublet Linen Proof of Concept Finished! May 2008
Linen Suit Finished! June 2008
White Linen 63 Finished! July 2008
Scarletwork Coif Finished! Dec 2008
Swetnam Article One Finished! Dec 2008
Complete In Progress Silver Article Finished! Dec 2008

Not too shabby.  I finished at least one project a month except for August-November when I was focusing on my coif.  I don’t embroider very quickly.

I had to go back and use my blog to recreate most of it but in 2009 my list looked like this:

2009 Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Wool Jacket Finished! March 2009
Embroidered Jacket Started August 2009
Black Bias Cut linen Hosen Finished! March 2009
Green Bias Cut linen Hosen Finished! March 2009
Blue Linen Fencing Doublet Finished! May 2009
Scarletwork Forehead Cloth Finished! September 2009

I got some things done but I spent most of my free SCA time fencing and embroidering.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  It was really quite enjoyable. :)  But it does mean that I have finished fewer projects.  Especially since my jacket was one of the things I was spending most of my time on.

So now that I’ve had a chance to go back and look at what I accomplished of over 2008 and 2009 I needed to create a list for 2010.

2010 Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress: Started August 2009
Flander’s Gown In progress
Saviolo Dueling Blog Series Finished! June 2010 (Combined with class)
Silver Training Blog Series In progress
Swetnam Training Blog Series In progress
Early Modern English Dueling Class Finished! June 2010
Steampunk Gown Finished! January 2010
Wrapped and Stuffed Buttons @ Etsy Opened! January 2010
Grey Wool Bias Cut Hosen Finished! February 2010
Linen Kirtle Finished! April 2010
White Linen Bias Cut Stockings Finished! April 2010
16th-17th Century Stocking Tutorial Finished! April 2010
Blue Linen Bias Cut Hosen Finished! May 2010
14th Century Hosen Tutorial Finished! May 2010

Hmmm…no wonder I feel distracted.  I’ve accomplished much more than I thought I had but I have let several “In progress” projects accumulate at once.  Normally I try to keep it to one or two.  Plus three of those projects are blog series.  I should certainly be trying to limit those to one at a time.  So for now, no more new blog series!  I need to finish these first! :)  I don’t have too many sewing projects going at once, just my Flander’s Gown and my jacket but they did get pushed to the back burner while I worked on some others.  I definitely want to get back to back to work on them once my second article is turned in.  I will also probably place my Saviolo dueling series on the back burner since it’s so similar to the class that I’m working on for June Univeristy.  And I’m going to add a few more items to the planning list to start on once I’ve finished my gown and jacket.

2010 Project Plans

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress: Started August 2009
Flander’s Gown In progress
Saviolo Dueling Blog Series Finished! June 2010
Silver Training Blog Series In progress
Swetnam Training Blog Series In progress
Early Modern English Dueling Class Finished! June 2010
Steampunk Gown Finished! January 2010
Wrapped and Stuffed Buttons @ Etsy Opened! January 2010
Grey Wool Bias Cut Hosen Finished! February 2010
Linen Kirtle Finished! April 2010
White Linen Bias Cut Stockings Finished! April 2010
16th-17th Century Stocking Tutorial Finished! April 2010
Blue Linen Bias Cut Hosen Finished! May 2010
14th Century Hosen Tutorial Finished! May 2010
Green Linen GFG (pieces cut out)
French-Cut gown
Red Silk Bodies (have fabric and boning)
A new linen suit
Natural Form Gown

Postponed Projects

(HMA)
Di Grassi Series
Di Grassi Class
Swetnam Class
Arming Garments Class

(Sewing and Embroidery)
Blackwork shirt
Red Wool Suit
1530′s Tudor gown
1530′s petticoat
1530′s Kirtle
English Hood
1605 Gown
Embroidered Night Cap
Blackwork sleeves
Blackwork partlet
Doublet and Pluderhosen
Edwardian Lingerie Gown

I can’t believe it is December 16th.  A lot of people review the previous year at the beginning of the new one but I like to take a look at things a little earlier.  This allows me to evaluate how I did with my old goals and begin to lay the ground work for new ones. 

2009 Goals

  1. Improved Health and Physical Fitness
  2. Improved Fencing
  3. Finish 3 projects: Embroidered Shirt, Embroidered Jacket, Silver and Swetnam HMA project 

How did I do? 

Well, it’s really kind of a mixed bag to be honest.  One of the things I failed to do when setting goals for the New Year was to make them measureable goals.  I did improve my health and physical fitness.  It’s not where I want it to be or where I thought it would be by now but it is “improved”.  It’s the same with my fencing.  My game has “improved” but with out a benchmark for what “improved” means to me it is hard to measure whether or not I really accomplished anything.  As for my 3 projects: I started my embroidered jacket (although it is FAR from finished), I did not start the embroidered shirt project, and the Silver and Swetnam project morphed about 6 months into the year.  I started out with one idea of what I wanted to do but as I progressed down that path I realized that I really wanted to do something else.  The original project has since become the training manuals I’m publishing in installments on this blog so in a way did start it but it too is far from finished. 

So what does this mean for 2010? 

First it means that I need to set actual measureable goals.  I’m sure you’ve all heard the smart acronym before.  My goals need to be specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely (or tangible, your choice).  This will help me set achievable goals that I can actually measure and track my progress towards.  A big improvement over last year! :)  I think I did do the right thing by keeping my goal list short last year.  I often feel that if I set too many goals that they get lost in mess and I never really accomplish much towards them.  So I am going to continue the trend of keeping my list to 6 goals. 

2010 Goals 

1)      Continue to work on my physical fitness and fighting.  I want to have completed a 5K by this summer (even if it means I have to hold my own), and be able to do 20 pullups and 100 pushups by the end of the year.  I will also attend at least one practice weekly and set a schedule for drills.

2)      Only have one embroidery project at a time.  Until it’s finished this means my jacket.  I am setting a goal of 10 hours of embroidery per week for this project.  If I meet those 10 hours I can spend the rest of my free project time working on other sewing projects or getting more embroidery finished.

3)      Do more sewing. I spent most of my project time this year working on embroidery projects which means I spent very little time actually sewing clothing.  I made some rapier armor but that was about it.  I really would like some new clothes and I already have several projects lined up: new shirts, a Flanders gown, new rapier armor, a pourpoint, and a jupon (as well as some ideas for household livery).  So I am setting a goal of finishing at least one sewing project a month.  More complicated projects, such as the fur lined Flanders gown, may take longer and may be broken up into smaller projects.  Similarly simple projects, like shirts, may be combined.

4)      Learn to play 2 pieces of music appropriate to Elizabethan England by Pennsic.  I will be starting classical guitar lessons in January which I am very excited about.  I used to play guitar several years ago (although not classical) so I think being able to play 2 simple Elizabethan pieces by Pennsic is very doable.  We’ll see though.  I may have to reevaluate this one in March depending on how I progress.

5)      Spend more time with my students.  I don’t know that I can actually set this goal by myself.  I think we all should sit down together this winter and set some activities (practices, workshops, events, etc) that we want to do together. 

6)      Continue to post Silver and Swetnam installments weekly.

Evaluating and Tracking my Progress

Ideally I would like to evaluate my progress monthly or at least quarterly.  I didn’t do that this last year and I wish I had.  So starting in January I will be posting here once a month about my progress on each of these goals. 

What needs to be accomplished by the end of January? 

1)      I need to be in the gym at least 3 days per week.

2)      I need to accomplish at least 40 hours of embroidery between Jan 1 and Jan 31.

3)      I need to order fabric for at least one project.

4)      I need to actually start lessons.

5)      I need to get together with the guys to talk about things we would like to do together between now and April.

6)      Post at least 4 Silver or Swetnam installments.